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Old 10-10-2006, 04:17 PM   #1
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Replacement shock

Looking for alternative shocks was a dead end for me. I have spent hours looking for alternatives to my 98 and finally broke down and bought them from Airstream. All the tech support at Gabriel (mfg of these) could tell me was a phone number to a supplier in Canada. No cross ref to anything. I even had them measured and found shocks from both Monroe and A/C Delco. But the devil is in the detail: width and bushing sizes. There is hardly any clearance at the top to put it in, since the top bolt is welded to the axle assembly, so sleeved equivalents are not easy to install.

All in all, the Airstream shocks were *cheaper* than alternatives from Monroe and A/C Delco (using very competitive suppliers) and this included a drop ship from the factory to my house! In the future, save yourself the hassle and just order them from the factory.
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Old 10-10-2006, 08:45 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by golddigger
All in all, the Airstream shocks were *cheaper* than alternatives from Monroe and A/C Delco (using very competitive suppliers) and this included a drop ship from the factory to my house! In the future, save yourself the hassle and just order them from the factory.
1. How come you needed to replace the shocks on your '98? I know you've travelled a ton of miles, but it's only 8 years old. 2. I thought you couldn't purchase parts directly from Airstream and had to go through a factory authorized dealer.
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Old 10-11-2006, 10:19 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by golddigger
But the devil is in the detail: width and bushing sizes. There is hardly any clearance at the top to put it in, since the top bolt is welded to the axle assembly, so sleeved equivalents are not easy to install.
As important as fit is the valving inside. Just because it fits does not mean it will dampen the axle movement on the bounce and rebound as designed by the factory.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:19 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Action
As important as fit is the valving inside. Just because it fits does not mean it will dampen the axle movement on the bounce and rebound as designed by the factory.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Action
You are correct. Typical shocks appear to provide uni-directional dampening. That is, they are hard to compress but expand all by themselves. The trailer shocks are hard to expand AND contract.
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Old 10-11-2006, 04:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
1. How come you needed to replace the shocks on your '98? I know you've travelled a ton of miles, but it's only 8 years old.
I suspected they'd be worn after this summer's travels so I decided to just pull one off and check. And it was basically dead. I have probably towed the trailer 40K+ miles since I bought it; only this season I've clocked about 18K.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peegreen
I thought you couldn't purchase parts directly from Airstream and had to go through a factory authorized dealer.
You are right. However, Airstream does not have a policy against drop shipments. Various dealers impose that restriction because it can get complicated if the right good are not shipped out or if they are defective. In this case, there were not that many choices and I was willing to take the risk. The Airstream dealer in Maine is willing to drop ship. Marty's USRV is not (e.g., you pay twice for shipping). And, worse, if a part is defective YOU have to ship it back to Marty's at your expense, which is no different than the guys in Maine. So I got the shocks shipped directly to me from the factory by ordering through the dealer in Maine. Took only a few days with cheapest UPS ground option.
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:42 PM   #6
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Good to know; I live close enough to stop by and pick them up, or would I still have to pay for the factory shipping charges?
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Old 10-11-2006, 05:52 PM   #7
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Arrow Reply to "What a shock"

Hey guy's; I see that no one mention the most important aspect to the Airstream shock. Very short travel, and the fact that they are designed to work at about 22 degree up from horizontal position. "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boatdoc
Hey guy's; I see that no one mention the most important aspect to the Airstream shock. Very short travel, and the fact that they are designed to work at about 22 degree up from horizontal position. "Boatdoc"
Not sure what constitutes short travel, but I measured the compressed at about 9 5/8 and expanded to about 14 1/2. This appears to be a 50% or so expansion factor. Not sure if that is particularily short. The shock itself is rather short, but there are comparable shocks from A/C Delco when it comes to compressed versus expanded.

Yes, the horizontal travel was pointed out elsewhere.
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Old 10-11-2006, 08:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by peegreen
Good to know; I live close enough to stop by and pick them up, or would I still have to pay for the factory shipping charges?
I think you'll end up paying for shipping unless the dealer has them in stock. The shipping costs will probably be offset by a ME sales tax saving, if you do a drop ship. The ME dealer did not have them in stock when I called.

I ended up paying 131.80 for four of them, including S/H to my house. I think the shipping was about 10.
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Old 10-12-2006, 04:49 AM   #10
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Hey Goldigger; If you look at the location of mounting stud of the upper end of the shock, you will notice that is just about the center of axle. As the torsion arm travels up and down because of short radius it allows only for short travel distance. The fluid passages inside the shock must be sized properly for the shock to work properly. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:39 AM   #11
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All this talk about uni-directional operation and short stroke porting makes my head spin.

Then there's the group that says shocks are pretty much decorative, just a marketing gimmick.

Someone needs to blueprint a shock. Either run it on a shock dynamometer, or cut one open and look at the valving.

I'll do the disassembly if someone will send me a old shock.
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Old 10-12-2006, 09:38 AM   #12
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Hey Markodone; While shocks on a torsion axle are not a absolute neccessity, they do help to smooth out the ride. The cutting up of one has already been done. They are somewhat different internaly this is why there is no cross reference which is required to follow exact matching of specifications by the industry standard."Boatdoc"
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